Despite what he said an interview earlier this week about shutting “the fuck up more,” actor Matt Damon returns to set the record straight about his use of the “f-slur.” In a statement to Variety, Damon seeks to add more context to an earlier interview with the Sunday Times, in which he was quoted telling a story about how his daughter wrote a “treatise” against the use of the derogatory slur and how, as direct result, he retired his use of the word. The actor now says that the conversation with his daughter was “not a personal awakening” and that he does not “use slurs of any kind.”
In the initial interview, the Stillwater actor discussed the changes in modern Hollywood, before launching into the story about his daughter’s thoughts about the use of the f-slur in older films and its unfortunate historical use in everyday life. “I made a joke, months ago, and got a treatise from my daughter,” Damon told the Times. “She left the table. I said, ‘Come on, that’s a joke! I say it in the movie Stuck on You!’ She went to her room and wrote a very long, beautiful treatise on how that word is dangerous. I said, ‘I retire the f-slur!’ I understood.”
Following the backlash, Damon says he understands how his phrasing “led many to assume the worst.”
“During a recent interview, I recalled a discussion I had with my daughter where I attempted to contextualize for her the progress that has been made – though by no means completed–since I was growing up in Boston and, as a child, heard the word ‘f*g’ used on the street before I knew what it even referred to,” Damon says in the statement. “I explained that that word was used constantly and casually and was even a line of dialogue in a movie of mine as recently as 2003; she in turn expressed incredulity that there could ever have been a time where that word was used unthinkingly. To my admiration and pride, she was extremely articulate about the extent to which that word would have been painful to someone in the LGBTQ+ community regardless of how culturally normalized it was. I not only agreed with her but thrilled at her passion, values and desire for social justice.
“I have never called anyone ‘f****t’ in my personal life and this conversation with my daughter was not a personal awakening. I do not use slurs of any kind,” Damon continues. “I have learned that eradicating prejudice requires active movement toward justice rather than finding passive comfort in imagining myself ‘one of the good guys’. And given that open hostility against the LGBTQ+ community is still not uncommon, I understand why my statement led many to assume the worst. To be as clear as I can be, I stand with the LGBTQ+ community.”